Pat Nevin: 'Rangers, with their inability to spend, appear to be falling, albeit with a modicum of style'
IN THE days before Tony Blair and Gordon Brown you used to be able to tell the difference between Labour and Conservative. There were ideologies which appeared to be polar opposites, and policies that neither party could imagine sharing. Since then it has become more blurred, with the parties coming to look like two sides of the same coin.
I AM SERIOUSLY considering an investment in a clicker, one of those pocket counting machines. I started off totting up the figure myself, but gave up when I reached 100. Now it would need a mathematician to keep track of the burgeoning number. So what is this figure that will undoubtedly continue to grow exponentially until next Saturday at 5pm? It is the number of people who have asked me exactly the same question: who will I be supporting in the FA Cup Final?
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OVER the past few years Arsenal have become synonymous with a particular style of football. It is classy, slick and a delight to watch. Arsene Wenger's team pass the ball around while opponents endlessly chase shadows looking tired and tormented.
IN MY business as a football pundit it is de rigueur to pontificate over, abuse, ridicule and patronise referees, but I try not to do it. Football folk often sit and chat about who is the best, worst, most over-officious or even the most approachable whistler around. Once again I do not get involved because, to be perfectly honest, I don't usually know one from the other.
TONIGHT THE Professional Footballers Association holds its annual player of the year awards ceremony in a plush Glasgow hotel. It will be a memorable evening for the winners, but some of us prefer to conveniently forget such ceremonies. I was given a Scottish young player of the year award way back in the dark ages when I was playing for Clyde. My abiding memory is receiving the trophy from the late, great Jock Stein. It was at a lunch where I had the honour of sitting beside him throughout.
NO ONE enjoys being on a sinking ship, and right now Falkirk's position in the SPL is perilous. With only six wins in their 33 outings so far, it is no surprise that the mutterings from the disgruntled fans below decks have grown inexorably towards full mutiny over the past few weeks.
FOR someone whose own Scottish Cup experience as a player was minimal, Pat Nevin has become synonymous with the competition of late as the analyst of choice for BBC Scotland. He is now as comfortable in front of the camera as he was on the ball, during a career which kicked-off with Clyde and finished at Motherwell.
HOW OFTEN have you watched a professional footballer and wondered if he actually went to the trouble of trying out his boots before the game? While commentators delight in telling us that the same player has just fallen over for the fifth time, even ex-players of a certain vintage are quick to question the new-fangled bladed football boots or even the fact that players may be wearing certain unsuitable footwear because they are being paid to and not because they are the right ones for the job.
THERE ARE very few days in your life that you can remember clearly 20 years later. On April 15, 1989 I played in an FA Cup semi-final for Everton against Norwich City.
THE INDIGNATION and fury aimed at Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor all this week should not have surprised them, but I bet it did. Put simply, if they had been aware of the furore to come they would not have gone on an all-nighter, or if they were hellbent on a bender, they would have done so in a more private setting.
AS A RULE football movies are more tiresome than even the dullest football match and some turn out to be real horror shows. There are endless problems to overcome. How do you make the action realistic with actors who can't play the game? You could get footballers to act, but they are generally hopeless unless they are rolling around the 18-yard box.
Pat Nevin: 'I'd like to see Brown stiffen Robben in the first five minutes, just to find out if they're up for it'
DOES anyone really expect Scotland to get anything from our match in Holland on Saturday? Over the past week I couldn't find one fan who truly believed, and within the media the accepted wisdom is that we have as much chance of winning as I have of getting another cap.
LAST WEEK, both Old Firm managers once more found themselves at the centre of attention. First it was Gordon Strachan with his idiosyncratic interviews after the St Mirren defeat. That story was still hot off the presses when Walter Smith was hot on his heels with his reaction to Kris Boyd's less than enthusiastic attitude before, during and after Rangers 5-1 demolition of Hamilton.
CRAIG LEVEIN is fast becoming Scottish football's resident volcano. Most of the time he is an impassive and yet impressive sight to be admired as he calmly overlooks the game. Every now and again, however, he explodes with an unexpected force as if it has all been simmering underneath for too long, growing in pressure before the inevitable. The latest caustic comments, directed at Hearts' David Obua and his team-mates, have caused outrage among the vast majority of fans from his old club
Pat Nevin: Here's a radical plan - let the leaders lead and let the blazers get on with designing camels
MODERN LIFE in big towns is very different from just a generation ago. These days it is not unusual to know very few people in your own street, and people living in the same tenement are often little more than strangers on nodding terms with each other. While people vigorously defend their own little area of ownership there seems to be a growing fear of contact and a distrust of communication, The eyes say it all: 'Why are you talking to me, what do you want?'
OVER THE past week we have been bemoaning the paucity of the SPL following the latest dire Old Firm derby. I think the coverage was over simplistic in that this was only one game and there had previously been plenty of good quality matches this season, many showing a decent level of skill as well as the usual impressive levels of endeavour.
THE LAST thing you need in a crisis is panic but that only happens when those in charge do not appear to know what they are doing. So whether you are the pilot landing a jet in a frozen river in New York or the prime minister attempting a similar soft landing for the economy, if people don't believe you are in control and have a plan, pandemonium and disaster are likely to ensue.
THE ONLY thing that appeared to be lower than the stock market last week was Steven Fletcher's bottom lip. It is an unusual occurrence these days to see a football player fail to get his way on moving to a bigger club, even if in this case it is likely to be no more than a short-term delay for the talented striker.
ONE OF the first works of German art house filmmaker Wim Wenders was The Goalkeeper's Fear Of The Penalty Kick. The accepted wisdom these days, however, is that stoppers relish more than fear spot kicks because they are under no pressure to save them. The argument is that players are favourites to score from 12 yards, so any stop is considered a bonus.
THERE WERE 20 minutes to go on Monday night and Everton found themselves trailing by a goal to nil at Anfield. My eyes were on Davie Moyes; what tactical or personnel changes would he make to save the game?